posted on Aug, 1 2011 @ 03:34 PM
In the early 80's I moonlighted in a basement data center connected to dozens of data centers around the world. It was really neat sending and
receiving CMS messages with the other remote operators on those big green on black monitors. We call those IM's now. Someone needed a certain file
loaded-- they just sent me a message and I would mount the tape or disk pack for the old equipment we still used.
Then I would go home and dial into a BBS, and was amazed the first time I saw "graphics"-- a novelty because they took too long to load.
Periodically would buy a book with phone numbers for the various bulletin boards, but kept my own file of numbers. Meanwhile, word processing was
done via WordStar.
The Internet crept into the world. First, I accessed it through a few bulletin boards that had access-- but no sooner had I written down the url's
to try then everyone was dialed in and getting a connection was rare. Then it was feast followed by long periods of famine-- until the big ISP's
showed up. I had an original IBM PC/XT with 20 MB about that time (BASIC programs I wrote of thousands of lines!). I remember having floppy disks
with batch files to open to get me to various sites as well as bulletin boards-- dialing scripts.
Goodness, we manually entered the codes when we bought new devices-- the days before drivers. It was fun, took much time, but very satisfying ritual
for having the latest and greatest peripheral.
Whatever ISP I first used (I think it was Compuserve), eventually I migrating to sprynet. For several months--maybe years( ?), many of us enjoyed the
competition using up free service for a month or more and then switching to the next "Try Me!" disk (Prodigy, AOL, Juno, etc.). Links were often
broken-- because website came and went so fast at the beginning. Most of the early sites as I recall were black background-- and way too colorful
Fighting trolls as a board moderator on boards that survived onto the Internet-- using sneaky software so we could tell who was using multiple ID's,
and then (only when we had had enough of some trolls) using other sneaky software to post stuff all over in their name. The best was when I called one
troll at his home to explain he was not nearly as anonymous as he thought!
As speeds increased, graphics, of course, became more common-- but so did utility programs to download. Not surprisingly, it was geek stuff I first
saw-- Wow! A graphic program that can show the moon and planets for your location at any given time! Then there were games. We shared what we
downloaded via floppy with one another-- because downloading "big" programs took so long. Next big change for me was the beginning of availability
of scanned documents. I thought that was too good to last-- and downloaded tons which, of course, are still available for online viewing right where
I first found them! I spent hours downloading documents and programs that take moments now.
Oh, and I was among those who didn't trust those newfangled online stores.